Grilled Apricot Salad

There are few foods that speak late summer outdoor grilling salad better than STONE FRUIT!  I found these beautiful apricots the other day and fell in love!  To start apricots are beautiful, flavorful and bright brilliant terra cotta orange. They are packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants.  Apricots originally hail from Asia but are now grown in many places around the world.  My kiddies love to eat them whole but this weekend I wanted to do something more.  I use to feature this salad on my summer menus and I am so excited to share it with you!

Let’s start with the vinaigrette!   This recipe is my go to recipe for a simple homemade dressing that can be adjusted to match any flavor or style of salad you want!

A vinaigrette is composed of three basic elements.

ACID  (Vinegar, Citrus or Other)

Emulsifier (Egg Yolk, Honey, Mustard)

&

Oil (Olive, Canola, Flavored)

A classic vinaigrette is a 3:1 Ratio of Oil to Vinegar or ACID

I’ll get more into the science behind the process later but for now here is the instructions. 

We are using two emulsifiers in this vinaigrette.  Let’s start with mustard!  I adore mustard and literally couldn’t have a proper kitchen with out it.  Oh….. that reminds me…..I should do a post on mustard…..it’s a very serious subject!  For now though Dijon Mustard will do!  Of course we’ve all hear the commercial…….”Do you have any Grey Poupon”?……. “But of course”!  Well I’m a goon when it comes to Grey Poupon, I have at least five bottles in my refrigerator at all times.  It makes me feel safe and secure.   Okay now you know I have issues.

2 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons of honey.

In this case I had some raw local honey, but you can use whatever type you want!

Next comes the ACID!   I call it acid because that’s how we refer to it in the pro-world, but it can be any vinegar, citrus juice, or tart liquid you desire.  In this case I’m adding rice wine vinegar.  But, you could use apple cider or white wine vinegar just as easily.

3 Tablespoons of Vinegar

Lastly, the oil is drizzled in.  Today I’m using olive oil because that’s my favorite and it’s healthy.  You can use canola, safflower oil, peanut oil or any oil that doesn’t have a super strong taste.

3/4 Cup of Olive Oil added slowly while whisking.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next we will make the pan spiced pecans. Yay!

This component of the salad is so delicious and so simple!  You will need pecans, butter, sugar, chili powder, cumin, nutmeg and salt.

First, add 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saute pan or non-stick pan.

Next add 1 tablespoon of unbleached sugar. 

Let the two get to know each other and mix thoroughly.

Add the 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/4 tsp cumin to the butter and sugar.

Grate some fresh or pinch some ground nutmeg into the pan.

Add the 1/2 cup of  pecan halves and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Remove the nuts from the pan and allow to cool before you assemble you salad.  There will be a little left over butter in the bottom of the pan you can discard.

Next in line are the beautiful apricots!

Slice the apricots in half and remove the pit.

Grill the fruit flesh side down and get some good grill marks.  Remove to a plate for later.

Now……. introducing the other star of our show!!!!!  Stilton Blue Cheese!!!! Hip hip hooray!   Stilton is one of my favorite cheeses.  It’s crisp and tart flavor with creamy texture add beauty to any salad or cheese plate.

Now it’s assembling time!  You’ll need:

SPRING-MIX

YOUR GORGEOUS VINAIGRETTE

EASY PAN SPICED PECANS

THE SHOW-STOPPING STILTON

AND Z GRILLED APRICOTS! 

Dress the salad with ingredient amounts to your specification.  I tossed all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix to coat everything.  You can leave out the fruit to the end so it doesn’t get bruised or smashed.   If you like a little more cheese go for it, there are no rules so…….. be my guest!

Now we plate!

ENJOY!

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